Water
Mississippi River Delta Is In Jeopardy – Undoing Decades of Flood Protection Could Save It

Mississippi River Delta Is In Jeopardy – Undoing Decades of Flood Protection Could Save It

A new study released earlier this summer found that the “marshes in the Mississippi River delta have hit a tipping point.” While the study concluded we are past the tipping point, the lead author Torbjörn Törnqvist told Nola.com that this cannot paralyze us into inaction. One important step towards that would be to build on and execute Louisiana’s 2023 Coastal Master Plan, which builds on a previous plan of the same name.

Why This Matters: Coastal marshes are “among the most valuable ecosystems on the planet” due to their vital contributions to storm protection, nutrient cycling, and more.

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Coal Ash Barges in India Continue to Capsize, Jeopardizing Public Health, Mangroves, Fishers

Coal Ash Barges in India Continue to Capsize, Jeopardizing Public Health, Mangroves, Fishers

Since March, five barges filled with toxic fly ash have capsized en route from India to Bangladesh, according to Rishika Pardikar last week in The Third Pole.  The fly ash, which is used to make cement in Bangladesh, is particularly harmful in river systems such as those of the Sundarbans, an area that contains a highly endangered Bengal tiger reserve and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Why This Matters: Rivers are often touted as an environmentally friendly and cheap mode of transportation – even here in the U.S. (e.g., the Mississippi River). But there are many other users who rely on these waterways in India for fishing and other livelihoods.

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Navajo Lack Water to Fight COVID-19 Because Coal Company Drained the Tribe’s Aquifer

Navajo Lack Water to Fight COVID-19 Because Coal Company Drained the Tribe’s Aquifer

Bloomberg News reports that Peabody Energy, the largest coal producer in the country, operated two coal mines on Navajo and Hopi reservation lands that pulled so much water from the Navajo Aquifer that many wells and springs have now run dry. This comes when water is more necessary than ever for essential hygiene since Covid-19 has hit the Navajo Nation harder than any state.

Why This MattersPeabody never replenished the aquifer water it took under a suspect agreement with the Tribes —  as much as 1.3 billion gallons of water from the aquifer annually —  and one-third of residents have no running water in the midst of the worst pandemic in generations.

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Clean Water Protections Under President Trump Continue to Be Eroded

Clean Water Protections Under President Trump Continue to Be Eroded

The Trump Administration’s severe rollback of the Clean Water Act’s coverage went into effect yesterday with numerous non-profits and states vowing litigation, and Colorado has already successfully pushed back implementing the new rule.  In addition, last week the administration decided not to regulate a chemical used in rocket fuel that has been linked to developmental damage ans the Massachusetts state Department of Environmental Protection failed to send federal regulators reports about the safety of watersheds required by the Act, according to the state auditor.

Why This Matters:  There is not much left of the Clean Water Act with the Trump Administration at the helm of the so-called Environmental Protection Agency.

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One Cool Thing: Florida Kids Invent A Way to Prevent Flash Floods in Miami

One Cool Thing: Florida Kids Invent A Way to Prevent Flash Floods in Miami

A few weeks ago we wrote about flash floods in Miami that flooded roadways and sank cars — Miami experienced more than 7 inches of rain — 6 of which fell in 2 hours, flooding streets across the city.  A team of middle school students invented a device that uses lasers that can be attached […]

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EPA Rule Unjustly Trumps State Clean Water Act Authority To Protect Rivers and Drinking Water

EPA Rule Unjustly Trumps State Clean Water Act Authority To Protect Rivers and Drinking Water

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday issued another rule dealing a blow to 40 years of settled law on the authority of states and tribes under the Clean Water Act to block fossil fuel projects such as natural gas pipelines and coal terminals that could pollute state waterways.

Why This Matters:  The EPA is turning the Clean Water Act on its head and undercutting states and tribes that are protecting the clean water and the health of their citizens.

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NY Denies Water Permit to Build Pipeline for Gas, Wants to Build Transmission Line Instead

NY Denies Water Permit to Build Pipeline for Gas, Wants to Build Transmission Line Instead

New York state environmental regulators denied for a third time a permit for a pipeline that would transport fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania to New York City and Long Island for two reasons: water quality in the Long Island Sound and fidelity to the state’s new law that requires the New York to transition its power sector to net-zero emissions by 2040 and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. 

Why This Matters:  This is how the stimulus funding from the federal government should work — it must be used to build cleaner and more efficient new infrastructure that decreases our dependence on fossil fuels.

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Dam Failures a Risk Across the Country Due to Climate Change

Dam Failures a Risk Across the Country Due to Climate Change

The Edenville Dam failure in Michigan causing thousands to evacuate puts a spotlight on a problem that the American Society of Civil Engineers highlighted in 2017 when it gave our country a “D” for dam safety (yep – that’s it’s grade) but this grade has not significantly improved in the last 20 years.

Why This Matters:  When we think about the security risks to our nation, we need to start counting infrastructure failure due to climate change as one of the most troubling.

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California Wins Battle With Trump Administration About Water and Endangered Species

California Wins Battle With Trump Administration About Water and Endangered Species

A federal court on Monday put on hold President Trump’s February order that overturned agency scientists and revised federal water supply plans in California, frustrating a political promise he made to farmers in central California to lift water restrictions for the benefit of agriculture there. 

Why This Matters:  This decision is just a temporary hold on the Trump administration’s water grab.  But the time is key for both the species at risk of extinction and for the farmers who will lose out on additional water that they would get to take out of the system for agriculture now, while there is spring runoff happening — water they can’t get back later because it is already flushed through the system.

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Frontline Communities Lacking Clean Water Can’t Fight Coronavirus Effectively

Frontline Communities Lacking Clean Water Can’t Fight Coronavirus Effectively

Shocking as it may be, there are 2 million Americans living in such poverty that they lack running water, and tens of millions of others may have water in their homes but it is hardly safe to bathe in, much less drink, The Washington Post reports.  These extreme conditions are exacerbating the spread of COVID-19 in minority communities in the deep south and Navajo Country

Why This Matters:  With some states reopening despite Dr. Anthony Fauci’s warning today that we are not yet ready, we are all only as safe from the virus as the most vulnerable among us.

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Nestlé Allowed to Tap Michigan Groundwater to Bottle for Profit, While Residents’ Bills Rise

Nestlé Allowed to Tap Michigan Groundwater to Bottle for Profit, While Residents’ Bills Rise

by Zoey Shipley and Monica Medina As many Michigan citizens pay exorbitant prices for drinking water, Nestlé Corporation will continue to extract 400 gallons of water per minute (a 60% increase over its original permit) from a well in western Michigan for which they pay only $200 a year.  Last week, an administrative judge overruled […]

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Great Lakes Shoreline Erosion Made Worse by Climate Change

Great Lakes Shoreline Erosion Made Worse by Climate Change

Along the Great Lakes–America’s “Third Coastline”–rising lake levels coupled with erratic weather patterns are causing alarming levels of erosion. Each year, people’s homes, as well as utility lines, are becoming dangerously close to the lake’s edge. Stronger riptides, dangerous crashing waves, and boats ramming objects hidden below the lake surface are all growing concerns for […]

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